2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (2023)

January 11, 2022 • Posted in Market Insights

We expect another healthy year for the plastics industry in 2022, with moderating but robust economic growth, along with improvement in resin availability and continuing materials inflation. Supply chain congestion will ease, but manufacturers should expect spot disruptions and elevated costs at least through the first half of the year. We expect improved resin availability to boost exports, but high transportation costs will impact resin imports, particularly from Asia. Staffing will be a major obstacle for the industry, particularly in the logistics sector where the shortage of truck drivers is growing. But if the past two pandemic years have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. The course of the pandemic and surprise weather events can quickly alter the outlook, making flexibility a vital key to business success.

– Dwight Morgan, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development

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“It’s been a big year for healthcare and, while there have been many advancements and trends within this market, there are two that stand out to me as the most interesting and most promising for the plastics industry. The first is the push toward robotic surgery as patients started to return to healthcare facilities for non-critical and elective procedures. The second is the market consolidation and increased investment in tech and innovation within the healthcare and medical device space. In 2022, we can expect continued supply chain shortages and more reshoring for medical device OEMs in an attempt to create more security and reliability. I also expect we’ll see a greater push for more sustainable materials in healthcare, particularly in packaging, and growth in areas such as chronic illness care, digitally connected patient monitoring devices, and research into new vaccine delivery methods — all of which provide opportunities for plastics materials to shine.”

Josh Blackmore, Global Healthcare Manager

2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (1)


in 2020 with
7.5% CAGR



by the end of 2027




Medical Components
& Medical Device Packaging

Read More

M. Holland Predicts:

Minimally invasive surgery (especially robotics), electronic patient monitoring and novel vaccine delivery development will drive medical plastics applications in 2022.

Sources: grandviewresearch.com, fortunebusinessinsights.com


Sustainability is no longer just a trend — it’s intrinsic to the purpose and the future of our industry. Over the course of 2021, we saw more of the plastic waste that is visible in our environment get called into question. These conversations will continue to grow and get louder until more efficient, scalable infrastructure solutions are put into place. In 2022, I anticipate seeing more movement on policies and regulations, by governmental agencies and industry groups, to inspire products that use recycled or compostable plastics at the beginning-of-life and ensure a more positive end-of-life story. Deeper collaboration is needed with all stakeholders, across the sustainable value chain, to build upon the progress we have made so far.”

– Debbie Prenatt, Market Manager, Sustainability

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2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (2)
Global Sustainable Packaging Market Size


in 2020 with 5.6% CAGR

Projected Sustainable Packaging Market Size


by the end of 2025

Top Materials

Bio-Based Polymers, Compostable Bioplastics, Recycled Plastics, Specialty Additives

Top Applications

Automotive Components, Consumer & Personal Care, Food & Beverage, 3D Printing Filament

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M. Holland Predicts:

2022 will bring opportunities for innovation on product designs that incorporate sustainable materials, address the global waste problem, climate change, and support the circular economy, across all market segments.

Source: marketsandmarkets.com


“I was really amazed by the amount of disruption the automotive industry faced in 2021. From the freeze in Texas and all the supply chain issues, chip shortages and limited material availability, it was a lot for OEMs and Tiers to deal with. There will still be supply chain issues in 2022, and likely into 2023, but I hope that new capacity coming online in 2022 will help make current challenges more manageable. 2022 will be an even bigger year for electric vehicle (EV) development, and plastics will be a big part of creating those vehicles — everything from under-the-hood wiring and battery components to interior and exterior application development. There will also be a push to figure out what happens to those materials and components after the life of the EV expires. OEMs are setting aggressive goals and some are looking to use 30% sustainable materials in their vehicles by 2030.”

– Matt Zessin, Market Manager, Automotive

2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (3)
Global Market Size


in 2021 with 13.5% CAGR

Projected Market Size


by the end of 2026

Top Material


Top Applications

Lightweight, Interior, Furnishings

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M. Holland Predicts:

The EV market will continue to grow in 2022, so wiring, battery components, and interior and exterior applications will increase.

Sources: marketdataforecast.com, grandviewresearch.com

3D Printing

“Machine speed and accessibility were the two trends I noticed making the most impact in the 3D printing market in 2021. Machine speeds are as much as 10 times faster than previous versions and machine prices are coming down, making it more economical and attainable for companies to embrace 3D printing applications for manufacturing. We also saw a good deal of M&A activity in the space this year, and we are likely to see this market consolidation continue in 2022 as companies work to expand their offerings and, in some cases, purchase 3D printing companies to bring those services in-house. Gone are the days when a 3D printing company can do or make just one thing. There is a shift happening toward full-service offerings — everything from materials and equipment to resources.”

– Haleyanne Freedman, Market Manager, 3D Printing

2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (4)
Global Market Size


in 2020 with 28.3% CAGR

Projected Market Size


by the end of 2026

Top Materials

(Top Type)

(Top Form)

Top Applications

Industrial Applications in Automotive & Aerospace

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M. Holland Predicts:

The 3D printing market will shift toward full-service offerings and diversify product production capabilities.

Sources: marketdataforecast.com, grandviewresearch.com

“In 2021 I saw brands and converters alike make strides in designing conscientious consumer packaging solutions that eliminate unnecessary packaging while placing a greater emphasis on consumer end-use. This momentum will continue to build in 2022 and I expect to see packaging brands emphasize creative solutions that contribute toward a more circular economy. I also think that in various parts of the world, including the U.S., we’ll continue to see Extended Producer Responsibility schemes drive forward.”

– Lindy Holland, Market Manager, Packaging

2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (5)
Global Market Size


in 2020 with 6.1% CAGR

Projected Market Size


by the end of 2026

Top Materials

Polyethylene Terephthalate,
Polyethylene, Polypropylene

Top Applications

Food & Beverage,
Consumer Product Goods

M. Holland Predicts:

Brands will increase focus on innovative packaging designs that play into the circular economy.

Sources: marketdataforecast.com, grandviewresearch.com

Wire & Cable

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“The most impactful change we saw in wire and cable in 2021 was double-digit growth in telecommunications, including high speed internet access, which is critical to both residential and commercial infrastructures. This growth was driven by a need to close the digital divide in the U.S., which subsequently drove a need for fiber optic cables, conduit, connectors, splice kits, amplifiers and antennas. I expect telecommunications growth to continue into 2022 and beyond. I also expect that 2022 will bring an even greater push by OEMs for more sustainable material options for fiber optic cables and usher in innovation and technological advancements for fiber density cables that utilize fewer materials and less energy in manufacturing.”

– Todd Waddle, Director, Wire & Cable

2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (6)
Global Market Size


in 2020 with 4% CAGR

Projected Market Size


by the end of 2027

Top Materials

Polyvinyl Chloride

Top Applications

Building & Construction, Telecommunications

M. Holland Predicts:

Telecommunications will continue to drive the wire and cable market in 2022 and there’ll be a greater OEM push for sustainable materials.

Sources: transparencymarketresearch.com

Electrical & Electronics

“The biggest trend in the electrical and electronics market in 2021 was the reshoring of consumer electronics and computer equipment injection molding tools, which amounted in an increase of 300% in sales for those two segments of the electrical and electronics market alone. In 2022, I anticipate the labor shortage to continue to be a problem, as it has been for years, and as a result, the need for robotics and robotic manufacturing will increase significantly. I also expect there will be a lot of movement toward and a high demand for sustainable electrical and electronics materials as OEMs buckle down on achieving their carbon neutral and sustainability commitments.”

– Carlos Aponte, Market Manager, Electrical & Electronics

2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (7)
Global Market Size


in 2020 with 3.8% CAGR

Projected Market Size


by the end of 2028

Top Materials

Polycarbonate, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, Nylon

M. Holland Predicts:

The need for robotics and robotic manufacturing will increase significantly in 2022 due to the continued labor shortage and reshoring.

Sources: grandviewresearch.com

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Color & Compounding

“In 2021, the color and compounding market saw continued market consolidation and supply chain challenges due to import delays, supply and demand imbalances, and producer outages. These supply chain challenges led to delayed services and material shortages for pigments, additives and other specialized resins. Throughout 2022, I anticipate those material shortages to continue, and I recommend that compounders try to plan their material needs six months in advance as a result. However, with the economy looking strong for the next few years, I am also anticipating 2022 will bring increased private equity activity to the color and compounding market, which could bring opportunity for smaller and more nimble start-up compounders.”

– Scott Arnold, Market Manager, Color & Compounding

2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (8)
Global Market Size


in 2020 with 4.5% CAGR

Projected Market Size


by the end of 2026

Top Materials


Top Applications

Automotive, Medical, Building & Construction, Packaging

M. Holland Predicts:

Resins and additive shortages will force compounders to plan their purchases six months or more in advance. More consolidation in the compounding market will continue due to strong private equity holdings.

Sources: grandviewresearch.com, 360marketupdates.com

Rotational Molding

“Reflecting on 2021, two trends stuck out most to me. First, market consolidation and continuing acquisitions in the rotational molding space. Second, labor issues that drove supply chain challenges with truck availability, extended lead time of secondary services and, in some cases, slowing of production at some molding shops. The labor shortage will continue to be a trend in 2022 and will help drive an increase in automation — something the market has been talking about for years. Lastly, I hope 2022 will bring some supply chain relief to the rotational molding market with new polyethylene capacity coming online from multiple U.S. producers.”

Bill Christian, Key Account Manager, Rotational Molding

2022 Plastics Industry Trends & Predictions | M. Holland (9)
Global Market Size


in 2019 with 3% CAGR

Projected Market Size


by the end of 2030

Top Materials


Top Applications

Building & Construction, Sports & Recreation

M. Holland Predicts:

The continued labor shortage and supply chain constraints will drive adoption of automation-enabled applications.

Source: transparencymarketresearch.com

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What is the demand for plastic? ›

The global plastic market size was valued at USD 439.28 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 457.73 billion in 2022 to USD 643.37 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.0% during the forecast period.
SegmentationBy Type, End-use Industry, and Geography
9 more rows

Which plastic has the highest market share? ›


What is the future of plastic industry in India? ›

The plastic industry gives jobs to 4 million people and comprises more than 20,000 processing units, 80-90% of which are small and medium-sized enterprises. This sector is expected to reach 9.1 lakh crores by 2025. With its commitment to a sustainable environment, 90% rigid plastics and 60% flexible waste are recycled.

Where is plastic made in India? ›

The domestic capacity for polymer production was 5.72m tonnes in 2009. The State of Gujurat in Western India is the leading plastics processing hub and accounts for the largest number of plastics manufacturers, with over 5,000 plastics firms.

What is the future of plastic industry? ›

Plastic by numbers

At this rate, plastic production is expected to double by 2040 and increase by 2.5 times by 2050. Unless we change how we make and manage plastics, the problem of plastic pollution will keep on growing. In theory, plastics should be readily recycled or at least reused.

Who is the biggest plastic producer? ›

China is currently the world's largest producer of plastics, with around 31% of the overall production of plastics worldwide (Figure 1). China is also the biggest exporter of plastics.

What is the strongest plastic in the world? ›

Polycarbonate is the toughest plastic out there, at more than 20 times stronger than acrylic and 200 times stronger than glass.

Which country has the largest plastic? ›

These 10 countries are the biggest contributors to marine plastic pollution – new analysis
  • China (21.5 billion kg)
  • Brazil (10.6 billion kg)
  • Indonesia (9.1 billion kg)
  • Russian Federation (8.4 billion kg)
  • Germany (6.6 billion kg)
  • United Kingdom (6.4 billion kg)
  • Mexico (5.9 billion kg)
  • Japan (4.8 billion kg)

What will replace plastic in the future? ›

Paper and polylactic acid (PLA) are currently the two most popular alternatives to single-use plastics. While PLA is only biodegradable in industrial composting plants, both paper and bioderived plastics like PLA and many other “plant-based” compostable alternatives could be major greenhouse gas emitters.

What is the future of plastic pollution? ›

And the scale of plastic pollution is expected to rise dramatically over the coming decades unless urgent global action is taken. If this trajectory continues, it is estimated there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050 (by weight) .

Who is the father of plastic industry? ›

It was named for its inventor, Leo Hendrik Baekeland (1863–1944), who discovered the durable plastic in 1907. Baekeland's inventive and entrepreneurial genius also propelled him into several other new chemical technological ventures throughout his life.

What is the best plastic brand? ›

The Top 10 Plastic Manufacturing Companies in India in 2022 are listed below.
  • Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. ...
  • Responsive Industries Ltd. ...
  • Mayur Uniquoters Ltd. ...
  • Nilkamal Ltd. ...
  • VIP Industries Ltd. ...
  • Wim Plast Ltd. ...
  • Arrow Coated Products Ltd. ...
  • Kingfa Science & Technology Ltd.
5 Mar 2022

Which state is famous for plastic? ›

With over 5,000 plastics firms, the state of Gujarat in Western India is the leading plastics processing hub and home to the largest number of plastics manufacturers.

What are the top 5 plastic waste producing industries? ›

The plastic waste crisis grows every year.
The top 20 producers of single use plastic
  • ExxonMobil contributes 5.9% of total single use plastic waste.
  • Dow 5.6%
  • Sinopec 5.3%
  • Indorama Ventures 4.6%
  • Saudi Aramco 4.3%
  • PetroChina 4%
  • LyondellBasell 3.9%
  • Reliance Industries 3.1%
18 May 2021

What are the 3 problems with plastics? ›

Nearly half of all plastic products are discarded after a single use and take up to 1000 years to disintegrate. Larger items, such as plastic bags and straws, can choke and starve marine life, while smaller fragments (microplastics) can cause liver, reproductive, and gastrointestinal damage in animals.

What is the biggest problem plastic causes? ›

Millions of animals are killed by plastics every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by plastics. Nearly every species of seabird eats plastics. Most of the deaths to animals are caused by entanglement or starvation.

Who is the plastic man of world? ›

Rajagopalan Vasudevan

Who leads the world in plastic waste? ›

United States

Who wastes the most plastic? ›

In a study published in Science Advances, researchers found that residents of the U.S. and the U.K. produce more plastic waste per person than any other nation, with Americans generating an average of 105kg (231lbs) of plastic per year. The British are close behind, throwing away almost 99kg (218lbs) annually.

What is the best material to replace plastic? ›

Best Alternatives to Plastic
  • Stainless steel. Tough and easy to clean, stainless steel options for reusable food and beverage storage have multiplied in recent years. ...
  • Glass. ...
  • Platinum silicone. ...
  • Beeswax-coated cloth. ...
  • Natural fiber cloth. ...
  • Wood. ...
  • Bamboo. ...
  • Pottery and Other Ceramics.

What is the healthiest plastic? ›

Of the commercial plastics on the market today, polypropylene is considered one of the safest. It's FDA-approved for food contact, so you'll find polypropylene in food containers like those that hold yogurt, cream cheese, and butter products.

Which plastic is stronger than steel? ›

It's called 2DPA-1, and it's two times stronger than steel and capable of conducting electricity and blocking gas.

Which country produces the most waste 2022? ›

Most waste is generated in the United States. Each US citizen currently produces 811kg of waste, and around half of that ends up in landfill. Meanwhile just 95kg of that are incinerated.

Which country is famous for plastic? ›

The biggest booming economy in the world, China is also the biggest exporter of plastics globally.

Which country has best plastic management? ›

Germany recycles 70% of all waste produced, this is the most in the world. The country achieved this through their policies regarding waste, companies are held responsible to whether or not their packaging is recyclable, when consumers purchase goods they are then responsible for the disposal of them.

What are the 4 main types of plastic? ›

1 – Polyethylene Terephthalate Plastic Type (PET or PETE or Polyester) 2 – High-Density Polyethylene Plastic Type (HDPE) 3 – Polyvinyl Chloride Plastic Type (PVC) 4 – Low-Density Polyethylene Plastic Type (LDPE)

What are the big 4 plastics? ›

In fact, a study published in the spring of 2021 – the most comprehensive of its kind to date – revealed that single-use bags, plastic bottles, food containers and food wrappers are the four most widespread items polluting the global ocean.

What are the 2 types of plastic? ›

Thermoplastic and thermosetting

As mentioned above, polymers that are classified as plastics can be divided into two major categories: thermoplastics and thermosets. Thermoplastics such as polyethylene and polystyrene are capable of being molded and remolded repeatedly.

What is Type 5 plastic called? ›

#5 Plastic: Polypropylene

Plastic number 5 or PP plastic (polypropylene) is the second-most widely produced plastic. Being light, heat resistant and sturdy, PP is applied to various packaging. Today plastic 5 is commonly used in: Yogurt containers.

What plastic Cannot be recycled? ›

Examples of non-recyclable plastics include bioplastics, composite plastic, plastic-coated wrapping paper and polycarbonate. Well known non-recyclable plastics include cling film and blister packaging.

What products can replace plastic? ›

Paper, bioplastic, glass, bagasse, stainless steel are the major alternatives to plastic.

How many years plastic will last? ›

That is not to say that plastics can't breakdown, they do, but it takes a long time; plastic bottles take up to 450 years to decompose in landfill.

What Year Will plastic take over the world? ›

Enormous amount of plastic will fill oceans, land by 2040 even with immediate global action, report says. More than 1.3 billion tons of plastic waste will flow into the world's oceans and land over the next two decades without widespread intervention, according to a new report.

Who named plastic? ›

The world's first fully synthetic plastic was Bakelite, invented in New York in 1907, by Leo Baekeland, who coined the term "plastics".

What happens to plastic over time? ›

Plastic does not decompose. This means that all plastic that has ever been produced and has ended up in the environment is still present there in one form or another. Plastic production is booming since the 1950s.

Who invented the first man made plastic? ›

In 1907 Leo Baekeland invented Bakelite, the first fully synthetic plastic, meaning it contained no molecules found in nature. Baekeland had been searching for a synthetic substitute for shellac, a natural electrical insulator, to meet the needs of the rapidly electrifying United States.

What is the most sustainable plastic? ›

Made from purely biological materials such as sugar, corn, and vegetable oil, bioplastics are an improvement on traditional petroleum-based plastics. Popular types such as PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates), PLA (polylactic acid), and acetate can perform as well as many traditional plastics.

Which grade plastic is best? ›

Top 5 FDA-approved food-grade plastics
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) ABS is an amorphous plastic created by combining acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene polymers. ...
  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) ...
  • Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) ...
  • Acrylic (PMMA) ...
  • Polypropylene (PP) ...
  • Serving up food-grade plastics with Fast Radius.
23 Jun 2021

What is the number 1 plastic pollution? ›

Cigarette butts — whose filters contain tiny plastic fibers — are the most common type of plastic waste found in the environment. Food wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps, plastic grocery bags, plastic straws, and stirrers are the next most common items.

Which city is famous for plastic? ›


What is the city of plastic? ›

Plastic City therefore is something mystical; it is timeless and keeps up a constant flow. It is a town built by thoughts, where the inhabitants and their positions are indeterminate, as new dimensions are developing constantly and changes are taking place.

Which country banned plastic first in India? ›

The Bangladesh government was the first to do so in 2002, imposing a total ban on lightweight plastic bags.

Why is plastic high in demand? ›

Plastics remain one of the world's most efficient and cost effective materials with applications across every industry. And substitution with materials such as glass and metal comes at a cost – both environmental and actual.

Is the plastic industry growing? ›

The overall growth of the global plastic market is estimated to be around US$ 190 Billion over the forecast decade covering the years 2022 to 2032, by following the average CAGR of 3.7%.

Is plastic increasing or decreasing? ›

22/02/2022 - The world is producing twice as much plastic waste as two decades ago, with the bulk of it ending up in landfill, incinerated or leaking into the environment, and only 9% successfully recycled, according to a new OECD report.

What Will plastic do by 2050? ›

The amount of plastic in the ocean is expected to double in the next 15 years, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea (by weight). There are giant plastic islands floating on the ocean surface, and beaches around the world are increasingly littered with plastic rubbish even in the Arctic.

What are 3 problems caused by plastics? ›

The growing rate of plastic production raises problems in many areas of our society. It's contributing to waste and pollution issues, it's impacting our health, and it's threatening our oceans and wildlife.

What is the biggest problem with plastics? ›

Over decades or even centuries, much of that littered and landfilled plastic breaks down into tiny particles known as microplastics, which contaminate our food, the air, and water. They also accumulate in our bodies, potentially increasing our risk of chronic inflammation and other ills.

What is the biggest problem caused by plastic? ›

Every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our ocean. Plastic pollution is a global problem. Approximately 7 billion of the 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic produced from 1950-2017 became plastic waste, ending up in landfills or dumped.

How many plastic wastes are there in the world in 2022? ›

Globally, we produce about 400 million tons of plastic waste yearly. 6. Until recently, the U.S. outsourced a significant portion of its plastic, but import bans in countries like China and Turkey have fueled a decline in recycling.

Where is the biggest plastic industry? ›

Top Plastic Item Exports by Country
Rank / CountryExports in USD billions
1. China$19.5 billion
2. Germany$9.9 billion
3. United States$7.2 billion
4. Italy$3.3 billion
11 more rows
23 Mar 2020

Which country uses the most plastic? ›

Which Countries Produce the Most Plastic Waste?
  • Japan. Responsible for almost eight million tonnes of plastic waste each year, Japan has an above-average consumption rate for plastic per capita. ...
  • Brazil. ...
  • Germany. ...
  • USA. ...
  • China.
14 Mar 2022

Which country has the most plastic pollution? ›

These 10 countries are the biggest contributors to marine plastic pollution – new analysis
  • China (21.5 billion kg)
  • Brazil (10.6 billion kg)
  • Indonesia (9.1 billion kg)
  • Russian Federation (8.4 billion kg)
  • Germany (6.6 billion kg)
  • United Kingdom (6.4 billion kg)
  • Mexico (5.9 billion kg)
  • Japan (4.8 billion kg)

What percentage of plastic is recycled in 2022? ›

Top Recycling Statistics of 2022

Of the 40 million tons of plastic waste generated in the U.S. in 2021, only 5% to 6% — or about two million tons — was recycled.


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